Capital Campaign in Your Future?
Are you anticipating a capital campaign to help fund a new building or renovation of your library? Before launching a campaign, there are several steps you should be taking now to prepare your organization and improve your potential for a successful campaign.
Long before launching a capital campaign – and to strengthen your library’s future – lay a foundation for fundraising success by focusing on three key initiatives:
- Increase community-wide engagement
- Create a detailed marketing plan, including staff and budget, to promote library programs and events
- Make presentations to local civic and social groups
- Invite community members to dialogue about your community’s desired future and identify specific needs and gaps that the library can uniquely fulfill
- Identify partnerships across the community to leverage resources and increase impact
- Develop a history of fundraising
- Register your Friends or Foundation as a 501 (c)(3) tax exempt organization
- Create a habit of giving to the library by conducting an annual appeal (see our article for tips and a sample annual appeal letter)
- Start developing and nurturing relationships with community leaders and potential major donors
- Identify “friend-raising” opportunities, activities that may not involve asking for money but are designed to engage community members in the library’s vision
- Recruit respected and visible community leaders to form a Foundation Board or Fundraising Committee; specifically, people with:
- Fundraising experience
- Corporate leadership
- Legal expertise
- Financial expertise
- Advertising/marketing/PR expertise or media connections
- Connections to philanthropic organizations
- Personal wealth
Focus on these three areas for at least two years (and longer if possible), and you will be much better prepared to begin the process of conducting a capital campaign: 1) you will increase the visibility and appreciation of the library; 2) you will build a donor base and create a culture of giving to the library; and 3) if you have carefully recruited and nurtured your Foundation Board or Fundraising Committee, you will have a committed group of community leaders who will work on your behalf to make the library’s vision a reality. Don’t wait for the capital campaign to start this work. Begin now!